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Major Challenge Fund Grant awarded to Minot State University

On March 30, the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Fund Grant Review Committee awarded nearly $1 million in matching grant funds to Minot State University on a $2 million gift from alumnus Clint Severson and Conni Ahart. Thanks to this partnership between Minot State University, Clint Severson and Conni Ahart, and the N.D. Higher Education Challenge Fund, the Severson Entrepreneurship Academy at Minot State will have guaranteed ongoing support for students in entrepreneurship training.

“Thanks to the wonderful generosity of Clint and Conni, the foresight of our legislature’s creation of the higher education challenge fund program, and the support of the challenge fund committee, we are pleased to celebrate this great milestone at Minot State University,” said Steven Shirley, Minot State president. “These investments in the Severson Entrepreneurship Academy will not only benefit countless future MSU students, but will also further enhance entrepreneurship education and training for our state."

“We highly value the special skills necessary to be successful in business,” Severson said. “MSU has proven to be a worthwhile investment with the establishment of the Severson Entrepreneurship Academy. The Challenge Fund was the deciding factor in our decision to provide the funds to continue entrepreneurship training at Minot State long into the future.” 

In February, Severson and Ahart donated $2 million to Minot State University. This is the largest gift in MSU’s history.

“The entrepreneurship program has truly opened my eyes to what running a business entails, so much more goes into it than what you would think,” said Ashley Busch, MSU student. “I was there from the start to the end of the Beaver Brew Café, and it’s so exciting to know that type of opportunity will continue for future MSU students, thanks to the generosity of Clint and Connie and the state of North Dakota.”

The N.D. Higher Education Challenge Fund is funded by the N.D. Legislature to advance academics at institutions of higher education in the state. The program provides $1 of matching grant funds for $2 privately raised by N.D. university and college foundations.

The Severson Entrepreneurship Academy provides unique opportunities for both students and the community. It uses existing College of Business courses to teach multidisciplinary classes related to the creative process of building a business. Within the structure of the Entrepreneurship Club, students help write, analyze and evaluate business plans, both those from students and from community members. The club also gives seed money to those student business plans that are exceptional. This gives young entrepreneurs an authentic experience to begin their own business ventures. In addition, a resource center related to the needs of entrepreneurs and a speaker series are part of the Severson Entrepreneurship Academy.

Published: 04/01/16



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